Tasteful Art – Jennie Wong

I really enjoyed the lectures this week and the way we touched on so many aspects of the combination of the human body and art. It is really interesting to think about the body as a canvas, and how really it can be used as a form of personal expression. However, one really has to ask to what extent can we take this art form before it is considered going too far. There is certainly a fine line between body expression and body distortion. Art should remain tasteful – the debate, though, is what you consider tasteful or not.

Plastic surgery is one of those things where drawing the line is a little easier. But when we draw the line here, perhaps we can apply the same guidelines to other fields. I think it can agreed that there is a difference between cosmetic plastic surgery and reconstructive, medical plastic surgery.

here is michael jackson with cosmetic plastic surgery

michael_jackson_before_after.jpg

versus

cleftlip.jpg

a child with reconstructive surgery for cleft lip.

As you can see, in this field there is a noticeable difference between what is really necessary and waht is not. I think the same general rule of thumb can be applied to some of the other fields we discussed. An example of something unnecessary: the bread/body parts project. The body parts as bread project was distasteful, in my opinion. It was a bit perverse and somewhat inappropriate, I think. The body is to be revered, not reduced to a display in a dusty bakery window.

Speaking of revering the body, check out these stats of plastic surgery:

11.9 million
The number of cosmetic procedures in 2004.

44%
The increase in occurrences of cosmetic procedures from 2003 to 2004.

478,251
The number of liposuction surgeries performed in 2004.

334,052
The number of breast augmentation surgeries performed in 2004.

10.7 million
Women had nearly 10.7 million cosmetic procedures, 90 percent of the total.

49%
The number of cosmetic procedures for women increased 49% from 2003.

It’s almost frightening how people will throw around their body now. Yes, it can be used for expression. Yes, it can a form of art. But when it comes to a point of altering what is naturally given to us, I think the need to make art comes second.

There was an article about the ethics of plastic surgery on plasticnews.net 2 years ago. One of the doctors in the article, Dr. Ellenbogen, said he remains successful due to his “‘artist’s eye’, his ability to stay abreast of technology, a deep undersatnding of his clients’ desires and rigid saftey precautions. ‘We dont’ cure anything,’ he said. ‘When the bandages come off, they’re exactly the same person.'”

Ultimately, art is an expression of one’s sense of self, not the creation of one’s sense of self.

http://www.youthnoise.com/page.php?page_id=2533

http://www.surgerynews.net/news/2005/02/new0205-11.htm

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